Serving the Servers


Sunday morning breakfast

“Be the change you want to see.”

Mahatma Ghandi

We are a week into the Sea to Sea ride to raise awareness and raise funds to help people to end the cycle of poverty. In using cycling as the vehicle to raise awareness we have committed to living more simply.

“Live simple so that others can simply live.”

– Mahatma Ghandi

We are a week into the ride and being served by an incredible support team; two truck drivers who are carrying our personal gear and the kitchen equipment, SAG supporters to assist cyclists while they are on the road, cook and kitchen staff as well as the tour organizers. (SAG = Support And Gear)

While that doesn’t necessarily sound like the simplest way to be living, I don’t think we could be pushing on each day, talking with people on the way, and bringing our message in other ways if we tried to travel any simpler. Sleeping in a tent each night with a 2 inch self inflating pad is a form of simplicity that suits me; waking up each morning as the world comes alive with either the sounds of wildlife or the sounds of human activity (ie. the road of trucks and holiday traffic).

Rather than being apologetic about some of the luxuries we are enjoying, I want to highlight the appreciation that each rider has for the support staff. The important thing is that the support staff are getting a clear message from the riders that they are appreciated. And it’s not how many times one says thank you.

It is the generous way in which the cyclists pitch in to help the support staff that is the clearest and loudest way to show appreciation. Appreciation is an act, not a word.

The cyclists are all assigned to a Service Team. Within each Service Team is a Leader who oversees the communication with the rest of the team; where they are needed, what tasks need to be done, when they meet for devotion, raise concerns or needs with the head organizer.

When a service team is needed, for example to assist the kitchen crew, it’s not always possible to get all the team members there. Some might still be cycling to get to camp. Others might be recovering from the ride or off site for an errand. Nevertheless, there is never a shortage of cyclists from other teams ready and willing to pitch in.

The same posturing of being of service to others comes through in the encouragement that others give. The encouragement might be assisting with a bike breakdown on the road or just checking in with someone after a hot day on the road to see how they are doing.

There’s a song that keeps going through my head, call it my ear worm. The Servant Song.

Lyrics for The Servant Song by Jeanne Cotter & David Haas and adapted by myself to suit our tour

Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace

To let you be my servant too

We are pilgrims on the journey
We are cyclists on the road
We are here to help each other
Ride each mile and bear the load

I will lead the pace line for you
As you draft and cycle near
I will block the head wind for you
Ease the ride as our camp draws near.

I will ride when you are riding
When you rest, I’ll rest with you
I will share your climbs and descents
Till we’ve seen this touring through

Will you let me be your servant
Let me be as Christ to you
Pray that I might have the grace
To let you be my servant too

And so as we cycle each day, we have many opportunities to serve the servers and in that way achieve our goal through our actions.